Videoslots has become the latest company to target the government’s controversial steps in Sweden, repeating past fears of a possible black-market takeover.
Coming after the European Gaming and Betting Association called for proposals to be withdrawn, Videoslots’ coming as lawmakers get set to debate the introduction this week with a view to implementing next month until the year’s end.
Built to protect players during the covid-19 pandemic, inclusions will see temporary weekly loss and deposit limits of SEK5,000 (€458) per week for customers and make it compulsory for players to set playing time limits.
The proposed changes would make licenced incumbents uncompetitive compared to illegal operators, who can offer “tempting” bonuses and limit-free play, according to Ewout Wierda, general counsel at Videoslots and a former regulator in The Netherlands.
The comments also come after channelling numbers for sports betting and online casino in the country have been shown to be as small as 80-85% and 72-78% respectively, and dropping, said online gambling trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel from Sweden.
Presenting the study published on behalf of BOS by independent consulting company Copenhagen Economics, the figures for each sector indicate “a general declining on the competitive side,” reflecting an overall channelling rate of 81-85%.
Wierda commented: “Videoslots agrees with the licensing objectives and has invested a significant amount of time and money in sophisticated systems to keep a risk-based focus on customers who need protection. Player protection is our number one priority.
“We are therefore increasingly worried about the continued decline in the number of Swedish players choosing to place bets with fully licensed operators. We fear that online casino channelisation in the country will soon drop below 70 percent.
“The changes proposed by the Government will take even more players away from the protection of the licensing system. Our player protection can help society cope with the current virus-related risks, but not if those players who need protection most choose black-market operators.
“Enforcement against black-market operators is needed but is not an alternative for the attractiveness of licensed operators. If the Government really wants to increase protection in online casinos, it needs to act quickly and sensibly. We urge them not to hamper us further by introducing counter-productive laws which will have unintended consequences.”
Adding to allegations that Minister of Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi is serious about these steps and willing to bring them into effect: “Measures must be taken in a transparent way and must be shown to be a good and consistent solution for a real problem. A discussion about proposals that have already been decided upon is not transparent.
“The government has no evidence of the need for measures or their effect. Licensed operators on the other hand can show there is no new risk. Forced fixed limits have proven to be ineffective by academic experts, and they are inconsistent with systems focusing on customers who are most at risk.”